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Shining Bright in Hawaii


I’m in Hawaii. I’ve been here for five months and plan on being here until my book is finished.  Thanks to a good friend I got a wonderful opportunity to come here so I could focus on my book. An email invite came just when I was asking the Universe for a place to go so I could focus on getting it done.

Ah, my book, what a wrestling match that is. I’ve been working on it for almost two years. Putting it together has been challenging. While the research was and is immense, having to catalog over 90 interviews sifting through hundreds of pages of transcripts, and writing almost every single day, that has been the least of it. Yesterday I discovered what I believe is a root cause to some of the internal resistance I’ve experienced along the way. That resistance has been immensely confusing since I’m so passionate about the topic and my message.

I discovered I’m scared.  Is it the haters I’m scared of? While it’s true my book has caused me to be dis-invited to a TEDx talk, elicited nasty emails from strangers on LinkedIn and even caused a new friend to get all sanctimonious and nasty on me -that isn’t what I’m scared of.  I am afraid of success. Actually I’m afraid of what will happen if I have success. I’ve been operating under a belief that success and or any extra attention will prevent me from being loved.  I am still operating under a lesson I learned long ago in my childhood; that the cost of having the spotlight on me means that love will be withdrawn.

Identifying that I actually still believe this is startling.  Of course I’m aware that I had this experience in my youth but to find out that it was still stopping me unconsciously was like waking up to discover that I am sitting in a stockade in spite of thinking I was free.

Learning at an early age that dimming my light would end unpleasant consequences I mastered it early. Not being the center of attention kept me safe and kept up the illusion of love. Of course anytime we are asked to dim our light -it isn’t really “love” that is doing the asking but as children we don’t know that.  We are too vulnerable and too dependent to say fuck that shit.  Instead we adapt. As Alice Miller talks about in The Drama of the Gifted Child, children are gifted at knowing how to navigate their respective drama’s with the wisdom of a  navy seal.  Growing up in a home where having a win or getting attention meant love would be withdrawn, I learned to keep my successes to a minimum.  Dimming my light became second nature.  And I realized today that this is why so few people know that I’m in Hawaii. I’ve been very quiet about it. I have been afraid that if  folks knew that I was here, it would only alienate me from people and illicit resentment. In other words, my friends would no longer love me. Isn’t it incredible how misinformation we learn in our childhood can still hold such sway over us now NO MATTER the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? I actually have some of the most generous, selfless, kind, and loving friends and colleagues that any woman could ask for – but I am still feeling nervous at the thought of pressing the “publish” button on this blog post.

In the midst of my awakening yesterday an old song from the musical Godspell began to ring in my ears called, You Are The Light of the World.

Where are you not shining bright? What are you keeping dim? What are you afraid that you will lose if you stand tall?  What will they stop loving you for?

Is it speaking your mind out loud in a meeting? Admitting to your parents you want to leave an unhappy marriage? Do you need to say no to a request that doesn’t serve you?  Or ask your husband or wife for more sex? Admit to yourself or friends that you want to write a book? Wear a slinky dress to show off your new figure? Do you need to stop hanging out with friends that don’t want you to play big?

Where do you need to stop holding your own light back and take the risk of being accused that you are too big for your britches?

Each of us is the light of this world and as we’ve no doubt read before but could stand to read again:

  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

I hope my liberation liberates you.

You Are the Light of the World

You are the light of the world!
You are the light of the world!
But if that light is under a bushel,
Brrr, it’s lost something kind of crucial
You got to stay bright to be the light of the world
You are the salt of the earth
You are the salt of the earth
But if that salt has lost its flavor
It ain’t got much in its favor
You can’t have that fault and be the salt of the earth!
So let your light so shine before men
Let your light so shine
So that they might know some kindness again
We all need help to feel fine (let’s have some wine!)
You are the city of God
You are the city of God
But if that city’s on a hill
It’s kinda hard to hide it well
You’ve got to stay pretty in the city of God
So let your light so shine before men
Let your light so shine
So that they might know some kindness again
We all need help to feel fine (let’s have some wine!)
You are the light of the world
You are the light of the world
But the tallest candlestick
Ain’t much good without a wick
You’ve got to live right to be the light of the world 

~Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

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Comments ( 8 )
  • Lisa says:

    We need to shine, sista…dim is unbecoming on us :) Fabulous, fabulous article at just the right time. Thank you…

  • Yolanda Naranjo says:

    Kim I was fortunate to meet you, I was inspired by the little time we spent together, one I wish will be repeated. Is so true, success is more fearful then I want to admit. Frightened for how much of my self I will lose if it happens. Here I am years later, feeling ready, to challenge myself and confront my own fears. It just gets harder with time, we get so used to being on the side of the road that makes it difficult to take the path that will get us there. You shine bright and strong! Keep going, for you can inspire us to let our light come out and shine too! By the way you and the bike look great together!

  • Drew says:

    Sounds like a perfect place to get inspiration and relaxation to really focus on the book. Enjoy.

  • Mary Jo Gracin says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I had to check 3 times to make sure it was about you and not you commenting about someone else. The person you describe is definitely not the strong, passionate, creative, courageous, and successful woman that I met last year. So I encourage you to please finish writing the book because by doing so you are only operating at my expectations of you. So Shine on.

    • Kim Ann Curtin says:

      Thank you Mary Jo for your kind and encouraging words. I still am those things -but it’s time to take my game to the next level – and now with this awareness, I’m ready to indeed shine on! :)

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